Here's The Difference Between Lemon Juice And Lemon Extract

Lemon is such a versatile ingredient. After all, how many other ingredients can you use in both desserts like lemon cakes and main courses like lemon chicken? Some recipes call for lemon extract while others require lemon juice. This distinction is important since the two ingredients have different properties.

During ancient Roman times, only the wealthy could afford to enjoy lemons (per Live Science). Citrus fruit like lemons are native to Southeast Asia, and they were rare in Mediterranean Europe at that time. That didn't stop Rome's elites from enjoying them and associating healing power with lemons.

Eating lemons is beneficial to your health since they contain antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids, according to Medical News Today.

Today many of us use lemon many times a day whether we have a lemon slice in our tea, make a lemon tart recipe for dessert, or use lemon-infused cleaning products. When making a lemon-flavored dish, knowing whether to choose lemon juice or lemon extract makes a difference.

The key differences between lemon juice and extract

The main difference between lemon juice and lemon extract is how each is made, as well as the different qualities. To make lemon juice, you simply squeeze or juice the lemon fruit. You end up with the familiar sour, acidic juice. You make lemon extract by placing lemon peels in oil or alcohol like vodka. As the lemon diffuses into the liquid you end up with a concentrated scent and flavor without the bitterness or high amounts of acid, according to MasterClass.

Since lemon extract is less acidic and bitter, it is frequently used in deserts. Lemon juice often curdles dairy products, but lemon extract will not. This is why some use the extract to flavor lemon custard, gelato, and other desserts like this easy cool whip cookies recipe.

However, sometimes lemon juice is perfect. It is frequently used to add acid to a dish or to act as a natural preservative in addition to the flavor, according to Penn State Extension. You may also see recipes that call for lemon zest made by grating the peel. When life hands you lemons, you can now choose between making lemon juice or lemon extract.